European Union: Power struggle for control of banks
16 July 2012
"English level: fluent in business English". That will have to be on the CV of anyone who wants to run a bank in Europe if the proposed banking union sees the light of day, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Any member of a European bank would have the right to look into the books of any other European bank, from big to small.
To enable European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to present the outline of a central banking authority as speedily as possible, the Munich-based daily writes, dozens of senior EU officials are “starting their second coffee very early in the morning”, and many have cancelled their holidays. Commissioners Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services), Joaquin Almunia (Competition) and Olli Rehn (Economic and Monetary Affairs) are also working on getting the proposal ready for September 12 –
It’s not just that the task is technically complicated; we’re also witnessing a real battle to see who will chair the supervisory authority.
On one side is the Commission, pushing forward its role as guardian of the treaties to lay claim to the job of designing this new authority. On the other is the ECB under Mario Draghi, unofficially claiming the distinction of being the only European institution that has not lost its credibility in the crisis. Beyond these jurisdictional struggles, plenty of questions remain to be cleared up –
Between now and the end of July, we must decide whether the authority will be responsible for the 27 countries of the EU or the 17 of the Eurogroup; if all banks will be subject to checks – there are about 8,000 in Europe – or just the big ones; and if there will be a central authority or a decentralised network.
Finally, notes the Süddeutsche Zeitung, pending the ruling of the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on the European Stability Mechanism, September 12, Brussels is pondering if –
... the Germans really want a strong authority that will lose their sovereignty to, or if they will reformulate the terms of a banking union to put off the whole project.